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Getting a Job in a Museum
Museum Studies at FSU provides this short guide, which will lend insight into resources you can use to establish yourself as a museum professional.
Check with the FSU Career Center
We advise all graduating students to use the services of the FSU Career Center. The Career Center web page is a useful resource and a great place to start. We encourage you to surf through all of the Career Center Web pages, choosing those services in which you are most interested.
Look at Web Resources
The Web is an incredible tool and can be used to locate position openings in museums all over the world. Interesting leads can come from undertaking a simple search in engines like Google using key words like "museum jobs." Other position listings on the Web can be found at www.museumjobs.com, www.museumwork.com, www.museumspot.com, http://museumcareers.aam-us.org/search/ and Getting a Job in the Museum World, as well as on individual museum web sites.
Join a Museum Association
Membership in one or more museum associations such as the American Association of Museums, the Southeast Museums Conference and the Florida Association of Museums is valuable when it comes to finding employment. You may also want to check other organizations related to your discipline such as the College Art Association, the National Art Education Association and other discipline-related associations. Most of these organizations supply lists of position openings. These lists are sometimes available on-line, even to non-members.
Go to a Conference
One priceless benefit to membership in associations is the networking opportunities they provide. The associations recognize that this is important and provide activities, meetings and conferences at which museum professionals and pre-professionals can intermingle. Membership is typically required to take part and registration fees are usually reduced for members. Some meetings and conferences even include interview sessions during which attendees can get first hand experience of how to best compete in the museum job market.
Volunteer in a Museum
Volunteering in a museum lends firsthand experience that will make you a more competitive applicant. Even a short stint as a volunteer in an area in which you are most interested can be helpful down the road. Students can volunteer in museums at any time; a pre-internship volunteer can test the waters of museums in which he or she may later seek an internship or employment.
Consult a Museum Text
FSU's Strozier Library houses many books that cover museum employment issues. To become a more competitive prospective employee see Museums: A Place to Work, Planning Museum Careers by Jane R. Glaser and Artemis A. Zenetou, published by Routledge, 1996 and The Employers Handbook by Charlene Perkins Cutler, New England Museum Association, 1996. Some other helpful books are as follows: Victor J. Danilov, Museum Careers and Training: A Professional Guide, Greenwood Press, 1994, GW Bates, ed., Museum Jobs from A-Z: What They Are, How to Prepare, and Where to Find Them, Batax Museum Publishing, 1994, and Sara Dubberly, ed., Careers in Museums: A Variety of Vocations, American Association of Museums, 1994.
Write a Resume
Compose a one to two-page resume that refers to your desire to work in the museum field, by stating your professional goals in a conspicuous place. List and describe your attributes as they pertain to specific museum positions you are seeking.
Learn Interview Techniques
Consult employment texts and manuals and participate in a mock interview at the FSU Career Center. Before you go to job interviews write down a list of questions you expect to be asked and answer them. Be sure to know how you feel about working in a museum, what it means to you and what talents and skills you can bring to the institution. Know the answers to the following questions:
Why do you want to work in a museum?
What have museums meant to you during your lifetime?
What are the things you most respect about the museum profession?
What are the most important purposes of museums?
What is the role of the museum in the community?
What are your qualifications and credentials?
What experience do you bring to a museum profession?
What are your professional goals?